Fili senza tempo – Timeless threads 9/23

Sunday morning I got up late, undergo a massive facial restauration (read it took me a half an hour makeup session to change from an old rug into a nice looking human being ;)) and left for Formigine..

now, I drove for 207 km (128 miles) – about 2 hours by car ..mostly motorway, so no big deal (plus I LOVE driving :)) – see what google maps has to say about the route:

I stopped for fuel at some point (well.. my butt got numbed anyways ;)) so I took a break at one of those motorway areas, which in Italy belong all to one corporation (talk about fair competition uh?) so I bought as less as possible!! (you all know them, btw.. the Autogrill Co. is for almost 60% property of the Benetton family.. yep, those Benettons from United Colors of Benetton)

I tried these Toblerone bars when I went to Germany by car 9 years ago (argh!), now these Swiss/German guys know how to trick you into potato chips hysteria and chocolate madness..😉 super tasty flavours, crazy looking bars, .. they mean business, really! (nothing compared to you Yankees of course, but that’s how close we can get without taking a flight..! :D)

now, after 9 years of hearing me blabbing about this almost mythological Toblerone chocolate bar (it happens with some imported stuff.. you find it only in motorway areas, or some shops in big cities such as Milan or Rome – or movie theaters! Maltesesers for instance are nowhere to be found in stores/shops/.. except the ones inside a specific multiplex chain.. can you believe this??) anyways, my sis finally tried it.. it was quite eventful, almost initiation-like..😀

she loves it (of course she does!) ..and when we opened one and realized the size of this.. well, I must admit I got carried away with quantities.. ;) hey, I had 9 years long watering-mouth expectations to stand up to!!😀 – plus I told you we’ll be in a month long halloween mood!! ;))

eventually I arrived in Formigine by 13 and something, managed to park as close as possible to the centre😉 ..had a delicious lunch outside the castle’s wall, and after some chats and a little digestive walk with friends, I entered Fili senza tempo (Timeless threads), the fair hosted inside the castle..

I really should have taken more pictures, there was so much green, clashing with the red bricks from the walls and tower.. but of course I couldn’t wait to enter!🙂 and when I got out I was overloaded with stuff.. (looked like I was moving or something.. :D)

if you take a look at the reflection you can see me (and the basket! ;))

since I got up late, and honestly had no other way to carry a few stitched pieces with me [you show off! I know.. :D] without stressing or squeezing them, I brought that Longaberger basket of mine.. it was a blast!😀 (and a real shame they won’t sell them outside the US!)

everyone told me how pretty it was, I even overheard a few visitors saying look at that basket!😀 (I knew the shipping & extra taxation at customs would eventually pay off in such gloating moments ;))

I met really sweet people, all so nice and happy to be in such a wonderful location.. I mean, I like fairs.. but they don’t happen to take place in the prettiest areas, plus they’re so big you feel in a hangar filled with stitched stuff.. nice, but not as much as a castle.. filled with stitched stuff!!😀

of course it was way smaller, but I reckon sometimes it’s better like this.. less things, alright, but presented in the way they deserve, surrounded by a nice relaxing scenario.. I actually felt sorry I couldn’t sit and stitch for a while, but I arrived too late to do that.. plus there’ll be another Fili senza tempo event in springtime so..😀

Stitched Tales wonderful selection of hand painted wooden buttons
Manuela aka The Shop Around The Corner, she’s working on a super cool halloween project.. can’t wait to stitch that too!!😀
Nicoletta aka Nikyscreations with her amazing new advent calendar

and finally here is the plunder..! I took cards and a few pics of the designers, so you can see for yourself😉

Michael Powell’s new scissor fob & key keep kit, a lovely postcard with Venice😀 and Laura Countrystyle beautiful pincushion necklace

Michael Powell is so nice and super inventive.. and always enjoys chatting for a while (read me pestering him with questions while he patiently replies), and I met Laura from Laura Countrystyle, such a lovely creative person.. with terribly good taste!🙂

The Shop Around The Corner charts and thread wooden keepers – the steamboat is Manuela’s new logo.. and she’s been so sweet, she gifted me the printed version of the now on sale Waiting for Christmas charts.. with my version on the left.. so cool!😀

I’ll get a few more things from Manuela aka The Shop Around the Corner.. she made a wonderful pillow I’ve been thinking about since I saw it..🙂

some amazing buttons by the creative Eli aka Stitched Tales (you’ll recognize her touch in Manuela’s new thread keepers and the Christmas button you’ll see later on.. Eli really is a perfectionist, something many designers (and I!) highly praise!)

Stitched Tales hand painted wooden buttons.. those in the back are actually complete with chart to backstitch
Stitched Tales hand painted wooden buttons
Stitched Tales hand-painted wooden buttons (as my friend Elena said “at last some Italian hand made buttons!!”)
Carnet de Broderies charts, Nikyscreations hand dyed 32ct. linen cut and handmade nut & acorn, Lilli Violette Christmas hand painted button, and a brand new pair of scissors
Carnet de Broderies scissor fob with my initial

Carnet de Broderies are husband and wife, she designs ..he stitches!😀 (as I told them, I’m never going to be that lucky.. :D)

Lilli Violette hand painted wooden button with Christmas figures and new scissors I found at Rovaris
Nikyscreations hand dyed 32ct. linen cut and handmade nut basket & acorn

I couldn’t wait to get myself one of those lovely nuts and special acorns.. Nicoletta aka Nikyscreations told me she got these from Tennessee ..where acorns are HUUGE!😀

and then I finally got myself a Rovaris handmade magazine rack I’ve been tracking down since last Christmas.. this time saving on shipping!!😉

Rovaris magazine rack and charts
Rovaris hand made magazine rack – on the right a picture of the finished rack

of course I collected the RicamiAMO folders too🙂 [btw they’re leaving tomorrow (I don’t have the car today.. humpf!) when I’ll post a detailed sum up of shipping costs and will donate the eventually exceeding money to La Lucciola (The Firefly) Therapy Centre via paypal.. Tania from Lilli Violette, all the designers involved, and of course the people at The Firefly asked me to pass on a huge thank you to all of you who made donations.. they were so happy and surprised to see such international response..!🙂

it has been a real pleasure for me too, enabling you to participate to this charity.. as I wrote in august, when this initiative was announced, I don’t like that charity-talk where you get praised for what you did.. I mean, the point is helping someone, not getting beatified for it.. still, this time I felt like sending the word was as important as the act of supporting itself.. so, thank you🙂

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keep following the tail (who btw is in an extra cuddling mode 😉) and thank you so much for the lovely comments and emails, it’s great to see your pop ups during the day*! 🙂

and last but not least, welcome new viewers from Singapore! 🙂

see you around


* about comments issues, some of you informed me they experienced troubles with this.. as witty Eli suggested me yesterday, try a different browser.. I used Firefox today and they ALL went through.. easy as pie!

watch out for a comments shower people! warned ya! 😀

but most of all, thank you Eli!! 🙂

the all-in-one post

long post or multiple posts? ..hmmm.. we’ll see.. either way, get ready for quite a few pictures and finishes..😀

so boiling hot temperatures are back.. (so annoying I find it hard to concentrate on almost everything, including stitching.. – darn it!)

this might explain why this piece got so unlucky it took me an entire week to finish it! can you believe it?!

ok, the fact that I’m awfully busy these days played its part, but all the same.. stitching with such hot weather is really not my thing..😀

here you see part two of The Shop Around the Corner‘s Waiting for Christmas SAL, where I changed a lot (as usual) in terms of fabric, threads and shape..

this should have been a big tag with a hole on top (which I really wanted to keep) but then realized my pliers for making eyelets create too small eyelets, so I had to turn it into a flat/soft ornament.. I still haven’t picked the backing fabric (main reason is I really need to invest a few days – and a few euros.. – in sorting out my stash.. I got to a critical point.. :D) but as you can see, no doubt it called for a couple of Sabine‘s biscuit buttons!!😀

actually I changed all colours, and added backstitch, in order to get biscuit looking hearts.. threads are all GAST and GASS (Oatmeal, Schoolhouse Red, Dark Chocolate and Shaker White) and I doubled the outside outline.. ( I also left out the green I picked, for it messed up the biscuit theme :D)

then off to the other finishing, actually an old one😀 ..I waited this long for the brass butterfly charms I want to add are on backorder, but since the deadline for this SAL gets closer and closer I thought it’d be better to show off what I did a few weeks ago (with the help of Granny and her beautiful old school Singer! :D)

this is Lilli Violette‘s Mystery SAL Al Castello, again, I changed A LOT😀 (as I anticipated in this post) ..I didn’t hang it for I don’t have the right nails but it already looks nice, even if.. on a pillow!!😀

28ct. Vaupel & Heilenbeck polka dotten linen band and white ribbon; La Croix et La Manière beige ruban; Mas D’Ousvan Rosine Beige fabric

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so this is my all-in-one post: both a Theme-a-licious report, a monthly goals report, all mixed & mashed up for your eyes to see, all in blink😀

Jolly July

It’s a jolly holiday with your WIPs…you can concentrate on Christmas designs, ornaments, or even pick a different holiday to render in stitchy goodness.

well.. I’ve been stitching on a Christmas ornament, that’s pretty much it.. I also dragged this along with me for more than a week..😀

on the Halloweenish July it should have been, Very Scary isn’t already here, I guess the Italian postal service is taking it as a hostage or something.. (stitchery items won’t get delivered until we get the ransom money! ..yeah, definitely possible.. :D)

as for my monthly goals, here they were:


✓ finish part three of the two Mystery SALs Al Castello hosted by Nikyscreations and Lilli Violette

✓ finish part 1..

• ..and 2 of 10 of Les trois brodeuses SAL Sorpresa 2

✓ finish part 2 of The Shop Around the Corner’s Waiting for Christmas SAL

• work on Lizzie Kate’s Mystery Sampler as soon as it arrives!

there’ll be an extra goal, and you’ll see the reason for this in the next few weeks..

• take a break from stashing. seriously.

well, I did all I could for what I had in my hands, and finished only part 1 of the SAL Sorpresa 2.. as for stashing.. hmmm.. Houston, we still have a problem..😀

now, there are many reasons why I keep on adding stash to stash (and one of them is I definitely lost my mind! :D) BUT, there are also a few job-likeish reasons I still want to keep secret, so.. don’t hold your breath, it might take a while🙂, but there’s more than complete madness in this, I swear!😀

I also fell in love with Edgar‘s Longaberger mag basket.. the moment I saw his picture I realized that’s how I want to carry my WIPs too!! (the power of blogging, you see..) so I found one which should be in great conditions on Ebay and got it😀

it’s already on its way to Italy.. add this to Madame Muriel (!!), stash for the Magic Garden Sampler SSAL, JCS Halloween issues, more fabric selections and stash for the Country SAL, Very Scary still stitchnapped😀, .. and you’ll figure out how August is going to look like..😀


• finish part 1 of L’Atelier Perdu Stitch Me Club (Stitching Olympics 2012)

• finish part 1, 2 and 3 of Annick Abrial’s Mon Marquoir (Stitching Olympics 2012)

• work on Lizzie Kate’s Mystery Sampler as soon as it arrives!

• take a break from stashing. seriously.

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thank you all for following the tail so far, it’s amazing how many people find my nonsense worth reading!😀

welcome new viewers from Korea!

(I absolutely do not trust Google with korean translations.. so no exotic welcome this time..😀)

thank you all for your mails and comments,

take care and enjoy the summer!

happy xxx


back to stitches

this Sunday turned out quite rewarding..!🙂

I did my homework for the other Mystery SAL Al Castello, Lilli Violette‘s project.. here is where I left it before the cooking madness, then the second step (just) completed..

I wonder what will happen next month!🙂

I also had time to pack Edgar‘s gifts from the gift-away..  it took me a while, as I made the box as travel safe as possible.. I had a hard time picking Italian stuff that could travel that long, that doesn’t come in glass jars, that doesn’t weight tons, .. oh well.. I really hope he likes it anyways!😀

btw, as a package leaves, many more are on their way here!🙂

I just won a magazine Gracie from Needles Pins and Dragonflies bought twice and was so sweet to give away.. I asked for one of the three she had extra copies of, since I didn’t have any of them already.. there were two Cross Stitcher issues, #251 and #252, and one Just Cross Stitch ..they all look interesting.. I’ll get CS #252! YAY! my very first giveaway win!

grazie grazie grazie grazie mille Gracie!🙂

and then I found out about the perfect SAL, you really have to check this out.. Les trois brodeuses drew a stunning chart (you can tell by the picture of the first part) for a project that will last 10 months!!😀 fancy that! it’ll go on until March NEXT YEAR!😀

each part will arrive as a PDF through emails, the chart is super clear, they really made sure we don’t get lost in such an big linen cut..🙂

the stitching area of the final project is 279W x 263H (the first step being 198W x  64H), they call for a Graziano Pronto Ricamo 38ct. linen, colour Greggio.. but since I find it pretty hard to find and want to start this asap I chose one of my fav Zweigart linens: 36ct. Edinburgh colour code 52.. [this, together with the threads, is getting processed by the amazing Casa Cenina‘s staff as I’m updating this post – Monday morning – ..they’re so fast I could get this in a couple of days..! now how cool is that?!😀 thank you Paola!]

this surprise SAL is dream like, really.. you don’t need to keep up with the work every month, nor to send pictures of each step finished.. there’s no limit to the fabric/fibers choice.. complete freedom!😀

what you should do in order to join is give the three stitchers (Franca, Sara and Laura) 10 euros through paypal, there are all the info on this page from their blog, but since it’s in Italian I’m writing you all you need to know here..

10 euros are a one time only payment, which gives you access to the 10 steps of the SAL Sorpresa 2 (Surprise SAL 2) as they called this lovely project.. charts will get sent on the first day of the month and you won’t know how the final project will look like until next March.. this is my ideal of a SAL, freedom to stitch and to stash, still having that mystery thing that keeps you motivated in stitching..

it’s comes in a nice size, and doing a little math, 10 euros is about 12,5USD/8£ ..a good deal for a project this big..

for any questions you want to ask them directly, this is their email: ..and don’t worry about the Italian issue, they’ll happily accept anyone from everywhere!😀

[I really have to thank Irene, another Casa Cenina customer, who wrote me about this project.. I didn’t know these designers.. completely missed their charts with lovely houses, and feel now really really grateful to the stitcher who didn’t keep this all for herself.. therefore I’m doing the same here! :D]

they list DMC threads (a total of 41 colours, 17 for the first part), but of course I won’t do it the easy way..!😀

I’ve decided to go for silks, Needlepoint Inc. silks actually, and Karin from Beardie Designs has been so sweet and helpful, picking the right shades for me (again!), this time from Holland, as she just got home from her trip to Italy..

thank you again Karin, I would have never asked for a designer to pick up silks for my projects once, not even in my dreams.. and now I have her inside eye to NPI silks so she’ll provide me proper conversions for the steps of the Surprise SAL 2 ..perhaps she’ll finish charting the antique sampler she’s working on right now and join the surprise SAL sometime later!😀

I forgot to tell you, entries are opened all the way through next March, so if you happen to have too much to do right now, but still like the project, take note of Les trois brodeuses‘s blog, or stop by from time to time to see pictures of mine.. there’s plenty of time to think this through! (I told you it’s the perfect SAL! :D)

and if you happen to need the conversion chart for NPI silks, just write me using the contact me form you find on top of the header (between about me and finishes).

now I’m off getting ready for the other project Karin helped me with.. she picked NPI silks while she guided me through Casa Cenina‘s warehouse, being one of the three lovely personal shoppers I had during the weekend.. oh gosh!😀

well, this little flower I’ll be stitching comes from a nice collection of books with nature motifs designed by Monique Bonnin, Véronique Enginger and Corinne Lacroix, published by Mango Pratique.. it comes as a nice box, complete with DMC threads for the charts you find inside the 6 little books, stored in the box’s drawer.. I already had the one they dedicated to Colours, so when I saw the brand new one about Nature I simply couldn’t leave Tuscany without it!😀

so there I was, looking at the Fleurs little book when Karin joined me and I dared to ask for her help.. that’s why I’m calling this the Karin’s flowers project.. thank you again for your time, kindness and help🙂

Karin’s dog, Pippo, has his own blog now, you know! what a funny dude he is..🙂

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thank you a thousand times for following the tail this far.. 

ترحيب / bonjour viewers from Lebanon!

and welcome back to all the others!😀

have a nice day,


these are strange days we’re living in today

Nicoletta from Nikyscreations released the second part of her Mystery SAL Al Castello yesterday evening, I printed it the moment I got home and stitched it today.. thank goodness I had something to do, since I got up to find out our local school has been taken to the cleaners.. camera is gone, documents and official papers trashed, money for swimming lessons vanished.. even the civic centre nearby has been emptied of the laptop and other few things..

the real damage was the mess and vandalism, with battered down doors and shelves.. I have no idea how the kids must have felt, realizing someone had broken into their place.. I mean, it’s a Kindergarden.. kiddos take it as the safest place after their bedrooms..

mom, who works there, is so upset.. when a country sees it’s public schools and buildings entered by thieves, you really start feeling something cracked in your society.. and this is just a small drop compared to the recent events..

I was driving through Emilia Romagna when the last big quake caught me Sunday evening, scaring the hell out of me.. I called friends and family in the area and luckily they’re fine.. but the mood is low, for big quakes never cease to shake houses, tents, towers which fall down like pins.. we’re not used to such seismic events, nor to have them last this long..

as I said, stitching helps detouring my thoughts from the sad times.. hence I’m going to start Lilli Violette‘s assignments..

take care all of you,

thank you for stopping by


it’s a finishing party!

I had a lazy afternoon wednesday, so I managed to add another finish to my monthly goals: the first part of Lilli Violette‘s Mystery SAL Al Castello

now my guesses for this BON– word are the usual bonjour or bon appétit ..or maybe bond.. James Bond or bonfire.. bongo.. bonanza..!😀

(yes, I’m a stupidity-free carrier, and a proud one indeed!)

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on the less crazy side, I have something to show you.. The Sweetheart Tree‘s Holly & Hearts Sampler is finally over! I started this piece at the end of February and now it’s ready to be shipped to Tuscany, where the amazing Casa Cenina staff will display all our works with the love and care they deserve, waiting for the judges to pick out the winners Sunday 6/3.

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the contest is called “The Sampler of Your Life“, and I must confess that I still feel a little intimidated by this statement.. at this point in my life I hope that “the whatever of my life” has yet to come..😀

anyways, all participants were asked to write a few lines in order to explain their choice, these are mine:

“there are several reasons why I’ve chosen to stitch this sampler, first and foremost because I wanted to..😀 motivation in my case is always the key to a finished piece.

once I had the chart in my hands, I spent a little time studying it, and I found out that the Amadeus Stitch was invented by Jean Hilton in 1985, the year I was born (how funny, I thought)

more recently I was chatting with an American friend, we agreed on the fact that when backstitching it’s better to use a technique that makes the front look exactly like the backside of the work (one of the reasons why this has been my favourite stitch for a very long time :D)

while we were talking I realized I called this stitch double running stitch, while she called it Holbein stitch.. I knew this stitch was extensively used in Blackwork, but completely forgot this name.. curiosity took me to stitching encyclopedias and websites, wondering what else did I miss..

well, it happens that this specific stitch, among many other names, is called the Chiara stitch..😀 (gee how weird this sounds!)

as you can see, I didn’t personalize my project by substantially altering the sampler itself.. but there is a series of circumstances that make me feel close to this piece.. it’s nice for a while to indulge myself with the fact that in every stitch designing that intricate holly you can read my name”


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thank you for following the grey tail,

have a stitchful weekend


making assignments

finally the first part of Niky‘s Mystery SAL Al Castello is finished (not that I had a lot to do, anyways.. but when you find that two out of five called for threads in the project are precisely the two colours you still don’t have in the DMC collection, waiting for them to arrive is kind of unnerving)

you can still join the SAL, just mail her at for the details, her blog shows pictures of other pieces, together with infos about the contest (e.g. can I take part even if I won’t be in Italy for the Fili senza tempo event? – answer is yep! :D)

stitched on 32ct. Graziano Siena linen (colour Panna) using called for DMC threads

btw, I forgot to say that Nicoletta understood my unconscious diversion, so I’m stitching this 2 over 2

as this first step gets crossed out, I’ve placed the first stitches on Lilli Violette‘s SAL

I’ve chosen a white 28ct. linen band with natural polka dots from Vaupel & Heilenbeck.. it is so soft and regular I wish I could stitch every single project on V&H’s bands..

(perhaps that’s why I’ve kitted up enough cuts of this fabric to last me the entire summer..)

I haven’t put aside H&H Sampler of course, I coped with the little (not so little..) detour and got real progress on this piece, but I won’t take a picture until the bottom is completely stitched and beaded. then all that’ll be left is the upper section, which is rolled up on the scroll and therefore hasn’t seen a bead yet.. but I managed to add as many as I could, so completing it shouldn’t take long..

I’m amazed by the concentration of stitches in this project: Sandra Cox Vanosdall managed to squeeze tons of backstitch, a few cross stitches, 257 beads, 21 paillettes and at least 6 different speciality stitches in 17 x 35 cm, giving the piece such grace and delicacy that stitching it is a real pleasure. thank you Sandra, you made it way easier than it looks.

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thank you for following the grey tail,

happy xxx


mystery SAL.. here I come!

seeing the end of the Holly & Hearts Sampler, I was kind of sad not to have another piece I had to finish before a certain deadline (which I seem unable to set by myself). today the answer to my worries came in the form of Niky Farrauto aka Nikyscreations, Lilli Violette and Lizzie Kate. both three designers recently announced a Mystery SAL.. my very fist SAL will be a mysterious one,  better said three!

at least, I hope I’ll be able to follow Lizzie Kate in her new project (theme is Halloween!), for I have no idea how to get the parts of the SAL, which if I got it right will be kitted up and made available at LNS.. how I wish I had one..!

anyways, the other two options are far more easy to follow: I’ve already received the first step of both SALs, put some stitches on Niky’s (it won’t be complete until I get the 2 shades of DMC I don’t have already in my stash.. darn it) and must say her chart has been a real pleasure.. so delicate and intriguing.. I wonder what will appear next time.. – I’ll get the answer via mail by the 3rd of June..

I’m stitching this piece on a lovely cut of Graziano linen 32ct. Siena (colour’s called Panna). how I love this fabric.. I had everything kitted up, I went downstairs to iron the linen, and realized I still had a washing machine cargo to deliver to the clotheshorse.. what a big mistake. I’ll have (among other things) dry panties tomorrow morning, that was the plan, but this little detour made me forget the project’s instructions said stitch over two using one ply of thread.. now I’m almost done with the first step and I might have to frog the entire piece..! aaargh!

I really like the way it looks, anyways.. I hope Niky will understand.. it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the panties..!😀

Lilli Violette listed DMC threads in her project too.. but I got the permission to change them into hand-dyed, as well as adopting a different fabric. my choice is a white 28ct. Vaupel & Heilenbeck linen band. every time I stitch a small piece, I try the different linen bands produced in Wuppertal – Germany.

if you’re interested in learning a bit on the subject, this is a nice post Elena from Casa Cenina wrote after she met a real master of linens, Mr. Klein.

this is my palette for Lilli Violette’s project: WDW Honeysuckle, Begonia, Hunter, Sweetheart Rose; GAST Cameo Pink, Blue Jay.

there’ll be drawings in September at the end of both SALs, with prizes for each winner.. good luck stitchers!🙂

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keep following the grey tail

have a nice day